Manolo says, it lives!
The footwear company based in Niwot, Colo., is fighting its way back since being declared “dead” in press reports last year.
After enjoying great success as its shoes flew off shelves and investors snapped up its stock—the company raised more than $200 million in its 2006 stock offering—Crocs stumbled during the recession. Consumers and investors considered the clog—and the company’s stock—a fad that had faded.
Now, Crocs is trying to fashion a comeback. It’s rolling out new, higher-priced shoes that include flip-flops and high heels. Those styles are highlighted in ads. Its traditional clog? It has been turned into an advertising character—two of them, actually—who give foot massages.
It is like the horror movie. Just when you think the monster is dead, there it is, scrabbling at your throat with it’s horny hands.
This week I caught up with Ken Chaplin, vice president of global marketing for Crocs. He was eager to show off its new shoes and boots but he seemed careful to avoid the word “clog.” Instead, he referred to it as “that iconic shoe.”
That Which Must Not Be Named!
Q: You’re still best known for your quirky clog with holes even though you’re also selling boots, high heels and flip-flops. How do you take a brand associated with clogs and stretch it to include many different types of footwear?
Chaplin: We are looked at as a brand but also as an item—a very iconic item in that shoe you mentioned and one that has brand awareness in the United States of over 95%. Our idea was to use that to our advantage. Working with our agency Cramer-Krasselt we came up with this idea on how to bridge the past, that iconic shoe, with the future. With over 250 styles, our best opportunity was to let them know the comfort from our iconic shoe can be found in everything we do.
Allow the Manolo to translate: “Yes, That Which Must Not Be Named nearly destroyed civilization, but look, over there, candy!”
Q. I talk to a lot of folks about how they manage their reputations online but few companies like yours have critics who’ve set up Web sites and Facebook sites against their products. There are 8,000 members of the “I Hate Crocs” Facebook page. Why do some people feel so hostile toward this brand and what do you do about them?
Chaplin: I haven’t seen a lot of new activity on those sites for a while. We have such a great opportunity in the US with people who are open to Crocs. We’re using our efforts to talk to them.
Q. Crocs has been in danger of going the way of many other fads. Is it possible Crocs will show that a fad can have staying power?
Chaplin: We don’t use the ‘F’ word.
You may be certain that the Manolo has already used the ‘F’ word.